Since the dawn of the dinosaurs…err, internet age, stealing images has been a very real threat. Sures Kumar, a student at the Royal College of Art in London demonstrated just how easy technology is making it to plagiarize images in a Scientific Hoax.
For one week, anyone could type in a name at Pro-folio.org and have a unique photography portfolio created in a matter of seconds, complete with images instantly stolen off the web. “Given the availability of information online ranging from open source names to college databases,” Pro-Folio now explains, “computers can construct a believable identity in no time. All it takes is to carefully lay the facts in a logical sequence, which can be coded as an algorithm.
If this is possible, can computer programs create all sorts of human identities in future? And what will be the motivation to do so? Will it be just populating identities and adding noise to our already overloaded Internet or will it give birth to interesting, engaging, avant-garde, mysterious identities and art works?”
The project was created by developing an algorithm that was capable of building up to 690,903,803 trillion unique portfolios. The creators of the Scientific Hoax noted that it took users about four minutes before even beginning to question the site.
The website was live for one week, beginning January 1, 2014, and now exists simply as an informative site—no more scary algorithms—about the very real possibilities of technology as a thief.